To say that the awesome power of the Internet and cyber-communication has totally transformed the way we communicate would be a gross understatement. In a world where personal conversation is more common in cyberspace (a realm where time and space are not factors) than in person, the world has become much smaller, and access to more of it are literally at the fingertips. During the time of our Prophet Drew Ali, such access to others was not possible, yet in three years (from 1925-1928) the movement’s membership, influence and power exploded in a way that has not been duplicated in the 87 years since his veiling of form. Given that we have access to others in such a way not possible in the 1920’s, how is it that we, WELL into the Electrified Age, have not been able to effectively wield this awesome power to at least get back to where the Prophet left us?
Obviously an answer to this question is more complex than it appears. I submit that in large part the issue lies with the deplorable lack of understanding of the word “proclaim” in Act 6 as used in the context of Nationality. Many Moorish Americans confuse knowledge of “National Identity” with the acquisition of “Nationality” when the two are not mutually exclusive. National Identity is essentially knowledge of your national descent, while Nationality is a quality or character of BEING; it is BEING who you are as opposed to simply knowing. This confusion, or rather diversion of understanding, gives the one so affected the illusion that simply knowing National Descent is enough, and that to “proclaim” it simply means to tell others their National Identity absent displaying the quality or character of being a Moorish American.
When we add the power of the Internet and cyber-communication to this misconception, it feeds the greater illusion that the actual “on-the-ground” work of the Moorish Movement can be done online and not in person. So today it should not surprise us that we see so many “cyber temples” and “online temple groups” popping up on social media platforms, and to many this becomes the entirety of the work. To be sure, social media is an incredible tool for marketing and communication of ideas, etc., however the Moorish Movement’s function and primary purpose requires a type of power and influence that social media can only contribute to; it cannot by itself accomplish it.
What is that power?
According to Blacks Law Dictionary (2nd, 3rd, 4th Ed.) Nationality determines Political Status, specifically with reference to allegiance. Act 6 of the Divine Constitution and By-Laws instructs us that all members of the Moorish Science Temple of American must proclaim their Nationality. The subsequent wording indicates that a knowledge of that nationality is not required to proclaim it; proclaiming in this respect indicates a pledge of allegiance to learn to live the quality and character of a Moorish American. Political Status means status in the political realm, the possession of which brings political power, or the power to change conditions of said political community/nation in conformity to the will of that political community. The Prophet incorporated the organization initially as a civic organization with the mission statement of “…uplift fallen humanity and to teach those things that would make better citizens out of men and women.” The definition of Civics is “the branch of Political Science that treats of the duties and responsibilities of citizens.” This basic knowledge, coupled with a knowledge of the political exploits of the Prophet and the Moorish Science Temple of America in 1927-1928, spell out quite clearly the type of power that the Prophet wielded, and the type of power that the organization was and is designed to acquire.
President Barack Obama, in both of his election campaigns, utilized social media to great effect, using it to communicate ideas, organize and mobilize behind a set of ideals that characterized his political platform. Yet, without “closing the sale” and getting the people to leave computer terminals and cellphones and out to rallies, campaign events, and ultimately, the polls, all of his cyberspace efforts would have amounted to mas que nada. There is a great lesson in this for us; first, we must cease settling for the spreading of knowledge of Moorish American identity as the whole of “proclaiming,” and embrace the fact that normalizing and mainstreaming the lifestyle of the Moorish American is the larger part of our objective. Second, we must begin to organize around the ideals of our principles, and mobilize our collective around our common agenda. Finally, we must direct our collective mobilized influence on politics, using our resultant “people power” to impinge upon the local political arena in a phenomenological way. This kind of power cannot be done online, it must be done in person.
In other words, we must simply imitate our Prophet.
This alone underscores the importance of making meetings and keeping in line with all necessities of the organization from the civic/earthly salvation perspective, but there is also a very powerful spiritual perspective that runs concurrent with the civic. Although Prophet Drew Ali first incorporated the organization as a civic organization, he also stated that the work was “largely religious,” indicating that, in Islamism, there is no separation of Church and State, thus in Islamism the religious work is the civic work, and vice versa, when properly understood. There is a great spiritual power in the practice of Brotherly Union, as the practice exploits certain spiritual truths.
Union makes it possible for a higher being to express itself through the members (Ch. 25:5, Holy Koran of the MSTA). Seven people who come together having harmonious thoughts and feelings with one another are far more than 1+1+1+1+1+1+1; they are not just the sum of seven, just as our body is not the sum of its five senses (Ch. 10:4, Holy Koran of the MSTA). The living and laboring with one another and in one another signifies something very similar to the co-existence of the cells in the human body. A new higher being exists among the seven, even among the five or the three. It is not the sum of those present, but something new which comes about through the union, but it only comes about when the one lives within the other (via the ingesting of our literature), when the one does not produce one’s powers literally out of the self, but also out of the others. That, however, is only present when a person lives unselfishly within the other person. Thus unions where people work together are the hidden places into which the higher spiritual beings descend in order to work through the individual members in the same way that the soul works through the members of the body. And when we speak or act as a member of said union/organization it is the spirit of the organization that acts or speaks through us, not the individual soul.
Our Prophet taught us that every word he speaks is spirit and power, and if we speak his words we will have power with him. It is truly the secret of the progress of the future humanity to work through Community.